After a thrilling quarterfinal series victory over its archrival in the opening round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs, the Clarkson University Women’s Hockey team is one win away from playing in its first ever league tournament championship game. The Golden Knights will face a stern test in their attempt to advance as they host perennial national powerhouse Harvard University in Friday’s semifinal game at Cheel Arena beginning at 7:00 p.m.
Ranked sixth in the nation by both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine national polls, the Golden Knights own a 22-10-5 overall record. Guided by second-year co-head coaches Shannon and Matt Desrosiers, Clarkson is the number two seed in the conference playoffs after posting the best league record in the history of the seven-year program with a 14-5-3 ECAC Hockey mark.
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If the Knights, win on Friday, they will play on Sunday at #1-seed Cornell in Ithaca, or host fifth-seeded Rensselaer at Cheel. Game time for the ECAC title contest is slated for 4:00 p.m.
The Green and Gold, led by senior captain Britney Selina (Thornhill, ONT) and senior assistant captain Carlee Eusepi (Oakville, ONT), enter the semifinals with momentum and confidence after knocking off preseason favorite St. Lawrence University 2-1 in last weekend’s series in Potsdam. Clarkson dominated Game 1 of the best-of-three series on Friday, skating to a 5-0 shutout over the Saints. St. Lawrence eked out a 2-1 win on Saturday forcing Sunday’s third game. Clarkson controlled the deciding game, jumping out to a 3-0 lead early in the third en route to a 4-1 triumph.
NCAA Selection Show - The 2010 NCAA Women's Hockey Championship selection show will be streamed online via www.NCAA.com on Sunday, March 7. The show is set to air 7:30 p.m. EST. The eight-team bracket will also be posted on www.NCAA.com.
Clarkson is 5-11 all-time in the ECAC playoffs and 2-4 in quarterfinal series. This will be the Knights’ second semifinal appearance and first at Cheel. Clarkson owns a 79-32-13 (.691%) all-time record on its home ice, including a 4-2 mark in postseason action. The Green and Gold are 15-3-2 in Potsdam this season. In Clarkson’s only other semifinal showing, Harvard defeated the Knights 3-0 at Bright Hockey Center in Cambridge, MA on March 8, 2008. This will be the fourth meeting between Clarkson and the Crimson in the playoffs, but first at Cheel. Harvard is 5-1 against the Knights in postseason action. Harvard also won the 2005 quarterfinals (5-0, 3-1) and the 2006 quarterfinals (1-0, 1-2ot, 2-1 2ot).
Senior Dominique Thibault (L’Orginal, ONT), a third team ECAC All-Star, leads the Clarkson offense with 39 points, including a team-high 21 goals. Two other Knights are recording 34 points. Clarkson’s all-time leading scorer, Selina, a second-team ECAC All-Star, has tallied a team-high 24 assists to go along with 10 goals. Selina, named the ECAC Best Defensive Forward, has amassed 146 career points on 50 goals and 96 assists through 145 games. Sophomore standout Juana Baribeau (Amos, QUE) is balanced on the score sheet with 16 goals and 18 assists.
Junior Melissa Waldie (Newmarket, ONT) has 28 points (16-12) and leads the team in power-play markers with 10. Named the league’s Best Defensive-Defenseman, Eusepi powers the offense from the blueline with 16 points (6-12). Selected as a second-team All-Star, Eusepi was chosen ECAC Player of the Week.
Second-team ECAC All-Star, junior Lauren Dahm (Baldwinsville, NY) backbones one of the nation’s stingiest defensive units. She holds a .937 save percentage, a 1.48 goals against average and is second in the nation in shutouts (9).
Ranked fourth in the nation, Harvard is guided by the all-time NCAA winningest coach in women’s hockey, Katey Stone. The Crimson own a 20-6-5 overall record and tied for third in the league with a 13-6-3 ECAC Hockey mark. Harvard defeated Princeton 5-1 and 4-1 in the quarterfinals.
Harvard leads the series against Clarkson 13-4-1.